By Taleen Babayan
(Special to the Mirror-Spectator)
LODI, N.J. — A multitude of Armenian artists and performers, hailing from the diaspora and Armenia, were showcased at the “One Nation One Culture” Cultural Festival at Felician College in Lodi, on Sunday, November 15.
Organized by the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of Eastern USA, under the auspices of Minister of Diaspora Dr. Hranush Hakobyan, the nearly three-hour program highlighted different aspects of Armenian culture and art, including performances by four dance ensembles of New York and New Jersey, a young choir group, a dhol group and the talents of singers Alla Levonian and Babin Boghosian. This fusion and collaboration resulted in a diverse and thoroughly enjoyable program.
Following the singing of the American and Armenian national anthems by talented baritone Vagharshak Ohanyan, welcoming remarks from Zarmair Setrakian, chairman of Hamazkayin Eastern USA Regional Executive, and a video message from Hakobyan, all four dance groups, including AGBU’s Antranig Dance Ensemble, Yeraz Dance Ensemble of St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble of St. Thomas Armenian Church, and the Nayiri Dance Ensemble of the Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Society, entered the auditorium from the three main aisles, walking by the audience members, and joined each other on stage, forming the Paradon Ensemble, for the opening number of the afternoon.
Babin Bogosian emerged on stage enthusiastically to sing in the opening, which also featured Karine Hasasian playing the kanoun, Grigor Pogosyan on the dhol and Lilit Khachatryan as a vocalist. Following the captivating opening, Bogosian remained on stage to sing Tou Orora, Tou Shorora with the Nayiri Dance Ensemble.
The “Pert Bar,” performed by the Yeraz Dance Ensemble, wowed the audience as the male members of the group stood on top of one another’s shoulders to create a tower. Other dances included Akh’tamar’s “Kughagan” and Antranig’s “Shourch Bar.” The first half of the program concluded with a beautiful kanoun solo by Karine Hasasian and the voices of the New Jersey Hamazkayin’s Arekag Children’s Choir who sang three songs, including Getashen.